Accused Michigan high school killer Ethan Crumbley will plead guilty to murder and terrorism charges on Monday, according to several local news reports which in turn cite Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor David Williams.
“Crumbley is expected to plead guilty to all 24 charges on Monday,” Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV reported, again citing Williams. “It would be the first time a school shooter was convicted of terrorism.”
That television station also reported that no plea agreement and no reduction in the charges had been offered by the state.
“We can confirm that the shooter is expected to plead guilty to all 24 charges, including terrorism and the prosecutor has notified the victims,” Williams reportedly told both the Associated Press and ABC News.
The AP said Crumbley’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 24, according to a court docket reviewed by Law&Crime on Friday afternoon. The precise nature of that 8:30 a.m. hearing is not indicated on the docket; it is simply listed as a pretrial matter.
Four students died in the massacre on Nov. 30, 2021, at Michigan’s Oxford High School: Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, and Justin Shilling.
Crumbley’s mother and father, James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley, also face separate charges in connection with the shooting.
Myriad civil lawsuits have been filed against the school district. Those lawsuits allege that staffers and administrators did not heed warning signs or properly handle Crumbley after he was caught drawing violent images in class before he allegedly opened fire. Crumbley allegedly claimed the drawings depicted a video game and is said by the authorities to have scratched many of them out between the time he was first caught and the time when the drawings were snatched by a school staffer.
According to the authorities, Crumbley, then 15, was removed from class because of the drawings and other concerns and taken to the school office on Nov. 30, 2021. There, his mother and father were called by a counselor, but neither took Ethan home from school.
The precise nature of the conversations between school officials and Crumbley’s parents on Nov. 30 have been contested. The school district has blamed the Crumbleys for allegedly choosing to leave Ethan in school against the strong advice of a counselor to seek mental health treatment within 48 hours. The Crumbleys have blamed the school district. Their attorneys say they were given the “option” of leaving Ethan in school and that they were told that Ethan was “not a threat to anyone.”
Jennifer Crumbley allegedly said she could not immediately take Ethan home because she had to return to work, according to pretrial hearing testimony from counselor Shawn Hopkins.
“I have never had parents arrive to the school and not take their student home,” Hopkins testified in February 2022.
After the meeting, Ethan Crumbley allegedly asked to return to class, and Hopkins said a dean told him there was no disciplinary reason why Crumbley could not be allowed to do so.
On cross-examination, Hopkins admitted that Ethan Crumbley had the “option” to remain in school that day.
On the way back to class, Crumbley is accused of retrieving a gun from his backpack and opening fire.
Hopkins testified that he had not searched the backpack and had not seen Nicholas Ejak, the former dean of students, search the backpack, either. Ejak had possession of the backpack before returning it to Crumbley, Hopkins testified.
School officials have relatively broad latitude under constitutional law to search backpacks, Law&Crime has previously explained in detail.
Several days before the shootings, English teacher Jacquelyn Kubina allegedly emailed Ejak and another staffer to warn them that she had seen Crumbley looking at images of bullets on his phone.
The day before the shooting, special education teacher Allison Karpinski emailed both Hopkins and another staffer to report that she caught Crumbley was watching violent videos on his phone, according to a civil lawsuit.
Math teacher Becky Morgan also allegedly emailed Hopkins after seeing a picture of a person bloodied with bullet wounds. Crumbley was pulled from Morgan’s class.
Crumbley is charged with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of murder, seven counts of assault with the intent to murder, and 12 weapons charges.
His parents are charged with involuntary manslaughter. They were captured after a manhunt that occurred several days after the shooting.
In essence, prosecutors have alleged that the Crumbley parents unintentionally caused the deaths of the four victims of the shooting. The charge requires the state to prove two basic elements: (1) causation, and (2) gross negligence. The first element, causation, will require the state to prove that each victim “died as a result of” the specific alleged acts of the defendant. The second element requires the state to prove that the defendants “acted in a grossly negligent manner” and caused the victims’ deaths.
According to Michigan’s model jury instructions, gross negligence is “more than carelessness.” Rather, “[i]t means willfully disregarding the results to others that might follow from an act or failure to act.”
The parents are accused of storing a firearm and ammunition “so as to allow access” by their son.
The parents have pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys asserted on Dec. 6, 2021, that the gun was “actually locked.”
“So when the prosecution is stating that child had free access to a gun, that is just absolutely not true,” the defense said.
The case against Ethan Crumbley is number 2022-279506-FC in Oakland County, Michigan.
This report, which began as a developing story, has been updated with background details since its initial publication.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]